Monday, 10 December 2012

What Do You Need As A Kenyan?

Today I have decided to engage you on something that crossed my mind when I was watching the Wiper NDC. Well, leave that; I want us to talk about what ME and YOU want for this beloved country called Kenya. Reality is stubborn, every day we are faced with challenges, problems and difficulties and once in a while we ‘ask the government’ to do something! Sadly when we do it, at times the same “government asks the ‘government’ to do something”. Have you seen ministers on TV asking the government to do something? Your lawmaker told you that the government refused to do A or B yet he sits in parliament? Who else is supposed to propagate our issues? So we turn to social media and RANT all day! Trust me it helps get the pain out of the chest but it never solves the matters in most cases! My marketing background tells me companies should offer products that meet the customer’s needs, they are supposed to proactively think ahead and innovate to solve problems as well as anticipate those that may come in future and have viable business solutions that will tackle such issues at a profit to ensure sustained growth.
Back to politics, I guess it should be the same thing! What are these politicians offering us? What can we do without them? What and where do we need their assistance? Do they understand our problems? Can they foresee those coming our way in future? Climate change? Rapid growth in urban centres? Congestion? Water and sanitation problem? Education and illiteracy? Security and insecurity? Implementation of constitution? Reforms? Corruption? Food security? Economy & agriculture?
I think they do since they have talked about it in rallies but we don’t listen as we chant TNA, ODM and WIPER! (paid noise & political chants) What they never tell us is the HOW they’ll do it and how do we become part of it which is very critical. How do we get from point A to B, so they tell us the youth need jobs….yes we really need them, but how do we get them? Are the youth all educated and employable? Do they have the skills that the industry needs? One thing with jobs and employment is there will always be work for you if you are skilled so you need to search for them in the right places. So don’t ask your governor to get you a job! You went to school to be taught how to ‘fish’ so when you clear don’t ask for the fish-----GO FISHING! However on matters education, we still have very many uneducated kids and grownups in the country, kids without access to good and affordable education in this country so we need some help here. Kibaki came in with FPE but a few people took advantage of the funds to enrich themselves so what we need now is a system that reduces pilferage of these resources. Well IT systems cannot weed out corruption and that means we should ensure we elect ‘leaders of integrity’. Many times the auditor works with the accountant to conceal something, same thing with police and Anti-Corruption Officials….we also shield corrupt officials- worse still we are the people who BRIBE them. So how do we ensure this reduces? Let us not celebrate or encourage our friends and relatives who steal! I mean, these corrupt fellows are our dad’s, mothers, sons and uncles. Somehow we don’t care about what they do and where they get all the money from as long as they Mpesa you something on Friday for the weekend. So YOU and ME can do something about this! Rather than pay bribes to get a service done faster, insist on speedy service ‘at that office’. Don’t pay to retrieve your file! If it’s lost, come back tomorrow and ask for it-they’ll finally see it!

What about food security and agriculture? We live in a world where a few people know so much and the others are totally clueless.  How and why? We have hardworking researchers, government, private and non-governmental organizations as well as individuals who have access to information that is critical and very important but does it reach to farmers? NO! So we need a system that ensures this information or data gets to its intended users in formats and language that makes it easy to understand and consume. People or firms who have data that if transmitted to entities that need it would make a big difference in the society especially when it comes to agriculture!  

On food security, farmers in Africa sell when there’s surplus so we need a government that provides the infrastructure to transport this produce, to store the surplus and we need stronger cooperatives that put the farmer’s interests first! I have also taught my dad some marketing skills on how to package his produce, where to sell and share information I find useful on trends and such. 

The county government will ease up the congestion in the major cities, because resources will now be in the mashinani so am hoping to see a “Rudi Ocha” campaign and tap into the potential there! That’s somehow sorted so I hope.

Come to security, here the big shots in Kenya fuel insecurity, hire goons and equip them, give them booze and drugs to carry out attacks (to kill ourselves). But why do they keep coming back to the youth? They know we are desperate, frustrated, uneducated, unskilled or semiskilled and broke so we can do anything to make some money! That explains why Kibera has never improved….someone knows if he/she solves the problems once and for all he has nothing to come back and promise the people there! Now what if we decided to kick them out with our votes? You see all those “Like Mindedstupid but clever fellows who have been in power since the 80’s and have been promising us roads, bridges, slum upgrading, better education and agricultural inputs yet they have never delivered……take them out! Can we? I hope so but I also don’t think most you WILL. 

The biggest issue we have in Kenya is not that we don’t know what we want but we don’t believe our decision/contribution will change something! So we choose to just bury our heads and assume things will change! We believe as long as ‘our people’ are in power and heads in certain places then our issues are being addressed! See all those scandals that have hit Kenya; we are the ones that suffer…the kawaida taxpayer…the mwananchi! He or she will steal what is rightfully yours and so rob your son’s future (education, health, roads etc)
We don’t register as voters because we think one vote can shape the country! We also don’t want to talk about our issues and put our leaders to task instead we line up to see the mheshimiwa for some handouts, see him when we want to invite him to a Harambee or when we need some bursary for our kids! Anyway we always assume it’s all about one man for himself and GOD for us all! 

Anyway I don’t want to write much, I assume you pray to God and ask for something; your needs aren’t similar to mine so all I want is from our politicians or the next government is;
     1.       Good Security (Warlords and ICC suspects cannot promise me THIS!)
     2.      A Youth Kitty that is well managed to spur and inspire development of viable business ideas that our youth have. We could also have government run youth empowerment centres that handle trainings on entrepreneurship, business management and financial literacy.
    3.      Good infrastructure and a powerful judiciary- that’s how we fight impunity in Kenya.
4.      We are an agricultural economy, so I need someone with a clear plan here! I need a country that can feed itself and afford-ably
I am okay with these four things, and I will vote for the best candidates who can articulate these issues. So maybe you need to also come up with your needs/requirements and scan around. Be the interviewer….you are the hiring manager….so what skills, level of experience, talents and objectives do you want your leader to have? Forget about whether these people are your tribe’s men and your people….GEMA or LUO…..Can you consult? NO! Make your personal choice!
 Over to you……what do you want…forget about what Kenya needs…what DO YOU WANT and how can you make it happen? What will your contribution be? How do you become part of the change you want to see? How will you help? Take part…get involved….do something……DO SOMETHING…..fanya kitu!
Hence the headline “What Do You Need as a Kenyan?
And as you think about that remember to the KENYAN the country called KENYA needs!

With lots of love for Kenya.
Muthuri Kinyamu

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